Tom O'Neil's Inside Track

Oscar predictions: Tom O’Neil explains why he’s picking ‘Roma’ to win Best Picture

At BAFTA last Sunday, “Roma” not only won the Best Picture race, but it surged out front in the Oscar derby. Now it’s the clear frontrunner.

Up until recently, the only Best Picture trophies that “Roma” had claimed were at critics’ awards. “Green Book” triumphed as Best Picture at the Golden Globes and, even more importantly, the Producers’ Guild. PGA uses the same kind of preferential ballot that the Oscars do, which resulted in the two awards agreeing on Best Picture 8 times in 10 years. Technically, that victory should’ve widely established “Green Book” as the new obvious Oscar frontrunner, but it’s been dogged by controversies that bloggers won’t let die. Also, there’s that sad bit about Peter Farrelly not being nominated for Best Director, but, come on, did we really believe that the academy’s snooty directors’ branch would embrace the helmer of “Dumb and Dumber”? Just look who ended up getting nominated in his place: Polish art-house darling Pawel Pawlikowski. Yes, Pawlikowski is a very worthy nominee, but most derby-trackers like me believe that he took Farrelly’s slot.

The Farrelly snub is an obstacle that can be surmounted, as Ben Affleck (“Argo”) proved, but Affleck prevailed after winning DGA and all Hollywood cheered him on at the Oscars next. Now “Green Book” has many passionate supporters, but not really the same boisterous rah-rah section for Farrelly, unfortunately. Frankly, there should be – he’s a genius filmmaker at the top of his game with “Green Book.” But most of the gushing this year has been over the rival who beat Farrelly at the Directors’ Guild of America Awards: Alfonso Cuaron.